Microtubule regulation of cell surface receptor topography during granulosa cell differentiation

Brian Herman, David F. Albertini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A possible role for cytoplasmic microtubules in modulating lectin binding site topography has been examined during the hormone-directed differentiation of rat ovarian granulosa cells in vitro. Indirect immunofluorescence staining with anti-tubulin antibodies indicates that undifferentiated cultured granulosa cells contain a network of microtubules which radiate from the cell center to the cell periphery. Cultures induced to differentiate by a three day treatment with 1 μg/ml prolactin exhibit a marginal distribution of microtubules and a centrally-located primary cilium. Prolactin enhances the incidence of granulosa cells containing a primary colium from 9% in undifferentiated cultures to 53% in hormone-treated cultures. The pattern of lectin binding site redistribution induced by Concanavalin A (Con A) is also modified by prolactin treatment. In contrast to undifferentiated cells, which randomly endocytose fluorescein Con A, granulosa cells exposed to prolactin respond to fluorescein Con A by forming central surface caps to a greater extent (75%) than undifferentiated controls (25%). Double label fluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy on Con A labeled cells show that caps form at central cell surface sites which contain the primary cilium. Disruption of cytoplasmic microtubules by colchicine, in undifferentiated granulosa cells, results in the formation of cell surface caps upon Con A addition. These data suggest that cytoplasmic microtubules modulate the topography of lectin bindings sites which is subject to hormonal control during the in vitro differentiation of ovarian granulosa cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1984

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We thank Dr. Keigi Fujiwara for providing anti-tubulin antibodies, and Drs. Elizabeth Hay and Kenneth Campbell for their critical reading of the manuscript. Our thanks to Ms. Liz Dreesen for her help in the preparation of this manuscript and the Pituitary Hormone Distribution Program, NIAMMD, for the prolactin used in these studies. This work was supported by NSF grants PCM 78-161 16 and PCM 79-22781.


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